Local California agencies say they are ready to handle Ebola should the Golden State fall victim to the deadly hemorrhagic disease.
“It would not be surprising to eventually see a case here because of our location… and the many people who travel here,” according to Carlos Villatoro, who is a spokesman for the California Department of Public Health, notes local Fox News affiliate in Sacramento Fox 40.
The possibility of Ebola coming to California is not far-fetched, especially considering the amount of international traffic the Los Angeles International and Sacramento International Airports receive on a daily basis.
A spokesperson for the Sacramento International Airport reportedly could not confirm any preemptive steps taken by officials should someone with the virus or with symptoms of the virus enter the state’s capital, notes Fox 40. However, firefighters are reportedly on duty at the airport and well-equipped to handle any medical emergency.
Several agencies have been placing emphasis on the importance of communication between both public and private organizations in addition to conducting rigorous testing to detect and identify Ebola.
In Southern California, hospitals such as UCLA Medical Center say they have taken steps to prepare themselves for a potential Ebola emergency in the region.
According to the media relations department for UCLA Health Systems, the hospital’s infectious disease specialists began assembling Ebola kits containing special protective gear as early as July, following the issuance of new guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control for U.S. hospitals.
“We’re going to keep them in central supply, so that we can use them fairly quickly if we need to,” said Dr. Zachary Rubin, who is an Infectious Disease Specialist at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. Rubin said that, of the 50 Ebola kits they now have, 25 are at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and 25 at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica. “We’re ready for potential patients,” the Dr. added.
UCLA has stated that it is also equipped with negative pressure isolation rooms where Ebola patients can be treated without any exposure to others. UCLA Health Systems has also released two videos with details about the “bleeding out” disease including tips on prevention:
Video 1: A look at the Ebola safety kits
Video 2: Inside a quarantined room
On Tuesday, following news of the first confirmed Ebola case in the United States, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), who chairs the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, warned of the “clear and present danger” the Ebola virus poses to the international community.
If at least 70% of the disease is not contained in West Africa, it is said that millions could potentially die. One Ebola expert has predicted that figure could reach up to 5 million people.